Before there was Superman...there was Krypton, a doomed world, and two parents who gave us their only son...
Everyone knows how Kal-El--Superman--was sent to Earth just before his planet exploded. But what led to such a disaster? Now, in The Last Days of Krypton, Kevin J. Anderson presents a sweeping tale of the pomp and grandeur, the intrigue and passion, and the politics and betrayals of a doomed world filled with brave heroes and cruel traitors.
Against the spectacular backdrop of Krypton's waning halcyon days, there is the courtship and marriage of Kal-El's parents, the brilliant scientist Jor-El and his historian wife, Lara. Together they fight to convince a stagnant, disbelieving society that their world is about to end. Jor-El's brother, Zor-El, leader of the fabled Argo City, joins the struggle not only to save the planet but also to fight against the menace of the ruthless and cunning General Zod.
The diabolical Zod, future archenemy of Superman, avails himself of a golden opportunity to seize power when the android Brainiac captures the capital city of Kandor. As Zod's grip on the populace tightens and his power grows, he too is blind to all the signs that point to the death of the very civilization he is trying to rule.
Through all of this, Jor-El and Lara's love for each other, their history, and their son allows for Krypton to live on even as the planet is torn apart around them. For in the escape of their baby lies Krypton's greatest gift--and Earth's greatest hero.
The Last Days of Krypton is a timeless, groundbreaking exploration of a world that has never been fully defined, and reveals the extraordinary origins of a legend that has never ceased to amaze and astound generation after generation.
Yes, I have a lot of books, and if this is your first visit to my amazon author page, it can be a little overwhelming. If you are new to my work, let me recommend a few titles as good places to start. I love my Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. series, humorous horror/mysteries, which begin with DEATH WARMED OVER. My steampunk fantasy adventures, CLOCKWORK ANGELS and CLOCKWORK LIVES, written with Neil Peart, legendary drummer from Rush, are two of my very favorite novels ever. And my magnum opus, the science fiction epic The Saga of Seven Suns, begins with HIDDEN EMPIRE. After you've tried those, I hope you'll check out some of my other series.
I have written spin-off novels for Star Wars, StarCraft, Titan A.E., and The X-Files, and I'm the co-author of the Dune prequels. My original works include the Saga of Seven Suns series and the Nebula Award-nominated Assemblers of Infinity. I have also written several comic books including the Dark Horse Star Wars collection Tales of the Jedi written in collaboration with Tom Veitch, Predator titles (also for Dark Horse), and X-Files titles for Topps.
I serve as a judge in the Writers of the Future contest.
My wife is author Rebecca Moesta. We currently reside near Monument, Colorado.
Best prose novel about Superman's universe that I've read so far!
A WINNING BET AND FAITH PAID OFF
I did a big bet on this novel since I didn't wait even to know much about reviews of it or even waiting for the softcover and I ordered right away the first printing hardcover edition when the novel just came out (back then in 2008).
I don't know, for some reason I had faith that the book would be a good one...
...and the faith paid off.
Since it actually was a very good book.
I had very good memories when I read in prose format: Knightfall and No Man's Land, both Batman's novelizations based on the popular comic book storylines.
However, here, you have a totally original story about the time before Krypton exploded. So, basically it's a Superman's novel, BUT without Superman.
So, I took the bet, I did the leap of faith, and happily, this book resulted as good as the ones that I've read of Batman, also in prose format.
A DOOMED PLANET
Sure, you don't have Superman here, but the world of Krypton and its last days proved to be as interesting as the adventures of the Man of Steel once on Earth.
It was really interesting to read about Krypton and this book acomplished in a great way about it.
It's the author's version of Krypton (so don't try to find an exact match with the versions presented in comic books, TV and/or films, but more like an ultimate merged version) but it's a real good one since, Kevin J. Anderson, combined elements of the Reeves' films version of Krypton along with the image of that alien planet on the classic Gold/Silver Ages of comics.
Anderson was really crafty even in the way of explaining of the existence of certain cities on Krypton.
Moreover, you read about old history of the planet to justify one of the ever conflicting elements about the origin of Superman like how a civilization so advanced like the Kryptonian hadn't space ships in abundance.
About characters you will be able to get deep into the thoughts and motivations of familiar characters like Jor-El, Lara, Zod and Faora, and even you will get some surprising cameos.
If you are fan of Superman and you wish to learn more about about Krypton (it doesn't matter which version), this is your novel. Also, if you want to read an engaging story about a sci-fi alien civilization on its last days, you will find quite endearing too, this book.
Rarely do I read a book that can be described fittingly using only one word, but The Last Days of Krypton is just such a book -- and that one word is incompetent.
I could stop there. I should stop there. But I can't. I must be heard (or read if you prefer the literal over the figurative).
Jor-El, the father of Kal-El (Superman) and the brother of Zor-El, is the obvious place to start. He is supposed to be the most brilliant man on Krypton (or so we are constantly told). His intellect is supposed to be nearly godlike. His inventions are legion. He is a scientist who believes in observation, scientific method, proof, logic, yet he rarely employs or displays any of these things. In fact, he fails to display his virtues over and over, and his incompetence completely undermines the Jor-El who is supposed to be. The flaws in Jor-El are not some attempt by the author to create character depth that has simply gone awry; Anderson unwittingly makes Jor-El incompetent while telling us that the great scientist is the most competent man on Krypton.
Commissioner Zod (later General Zod) is much the same. We are led to believe that he is a brilliant tactician and manipulator -- which he should be -- but his actions never match our expectations. He sets himself up as an adversary of Jor-El’s when he should be going to lengths to ingratiate himself to the brilliant scientist. He vaporizes a city when he should be using propaganda. He imprisons rivals when he should be killing them. He's not even a believable tyrant, and he becomes such an incompetent tyrant so fast that one wonders how he ever wormed his way into the role of dictator.
Meanwhile, there is a stream of incompetence that is running through the story intentionally -- the Council of Krypton. This oligarchy of eleven is incompetent in both its incarnations. The Old Council's incompetence imperils the planet thrice over by first facilitating Commissioner Zod's surreptitious rise to power, then by ignoring Jor-El's repeated warnings about the instability of the red sun Rao and then by laughing off Zor-El's and Jor-El's joint warning about the planet's geological instability. They are intentional exemplars of incompetence who are supposed to stand in contrast to the competence of, at least, Jor-El, but they stand as a mirror instead.
Then comes the New Council (which never should have been formed after the overthrow of the supposedly evil General Zod, a formation for which the El boys' incompetence is fully to blame) and their incompetence is so complete that they bring about the geological event that destroys Krypton and sends Kal-El on his way to Earth.
Intentional and unintentional incompetence is the core of The Last Days of Krypton. So who's to blame? Is Kevin J. Anderson really to blame for this mess of a book? To some extent I suppose he must be, but I think that much of the blame must fall to the long term incompetence of DC Comics. As comic book companies go, despite their popularity, DC Comics cannot be lauded for their overall quality.
Sure they've had some great moments, but those moments were based on singular talents that their business department was smart enough to pay big bucks to secure. Frank Miller had already made Daredevil THE comic of the early eighties before he was dragged to DC to breathe life into the terminally cheesy and pathetic Batman. The Dark Knight, as we know him now, is all about Miller and not at all about DC (or even Kane). Alan Moore (Watchmen and V for Vendetta) and Neil Gaiman (Sandman) brought DC more greatness, but their comics were outside the multiverse of DC, and their talents were allowed to wander into dark terrain in which the rest of DC feared to tread.
Justice League, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Flash. These titles have never had the quality or the depth of the X-Men, Avengers, Elektra, Iron Man, Captain America, or Spiderman. So perhaps DC Comics must share the blame for The Last Days of Krypton with Kevin J. Anderson. They charged him with bringing together a history of Krypton under one title, of making a coherent story out of years of incompetent story telling, and it is just possible that Anderson did the best he possibly could with what he had. Of course, it's also possible that he's incompetent too.
What I do know for sure is that the best part of The Last Days of Krypton (at least the mass market format) is the 3-D holo cover with the Superman "S" exploding out of the planet's surface amidst a cascade of Kryponite. I've loved scratching the holo surface with my fingernails and watching my kids play with the cover in the sunlight. That cover alone is going to save The Last Days of Krypton from the fire.
But a good cover isn't enough for me to make mine DC. I'm going to have to continue making mine Marvel.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
An exciting and (considering how often the story has been told and re-told) surprisingly fresh insight into the back-story of one of the most iconic fictional figures of the last century. Anderson has united elements of many of the various back-stories behind Krypton, but in doing so has put a wholly new spin on the destruction of Krypton. The story is elegantly put together, The characters are well developed, and yet still very comprehensible in their motivations and actions. The setting is as epic as we might expect from a 'long-dead, extremely powerful civilisation' and in spite of the fact that we all know the ending, Anderson manages to create a surprising amount of suspense. All in all this has something for everyone, from the die-hard Superman comics fans, to those who only know him from the 2006 movie. For those who have yet to enter the world of Superman, however, I recommend looking elsewhere first and then coming back to this book. While prior knowledge is not strictly necessary in order to enjoy The Last Days of Krypton; without it, you'll miss a lot of little references to things to come and so won't get nearly as much out of it as you could.
What an incredible book! Seriously, stop what are you doing right now and start reading it. I love superman and reading about his origin planet was wonderful. Kevin J. Anderson is a an amazing author, I'm very surprised. I don't have words to describe how perfect it was. All I can say is: just read it!
Despite the mixed reviews, I thought Kevin J. Anderson did a good job portraying life on Krypton. I have often wondered, if Krypton were so much more advanced than Earth, why didn't they explore new worlds? Why when the planet exploded, there were no Kryptonians around except those that barely escaped? Anderson answers these and more in a thick book about the rise and fall of Krypton.
Krypton is like Rome was in its waning days of the Empire. Fat from its long, proud history, there is little creativity amongst the people. There are a few who stand out but their potential is squashed. The civilization on Krypton is old, decadent and very conservative.
Jor-El, his brother Zor-El and Jor-El's wife, Lara, are the triangle that keeps the story flowing. Zod, who wants Jor-El's technology for himself, is playing like he is following Council's orders to suppress all "dangerous" tech. The Council represents Krypton's ruling class and they're not about to repeat history and let their planet again go to war or fight the alien threat that may come from space, or from their own backyard. Keep the status quo very status'd and very 'quo'd.
It's a story about taking chances, about doing what you think is right and about fighting back against suppression. It's also about learning and taking advantage of what you could know (Jor-El's adventure with an alien who lands on Krypton and tells him marvels is such an event).
Overall, I was happy with the book. A bit over-long in going over Zod's megalomanic plans. The Braniac scene where Kandor gets sucked out of the planet and what's left is a black scar on the surface and how Zod takes advantage is great. You just want to strangle the old Council for being so backward and stupid. And you want to kick people for letting Zod take control.
Clearly the book takes a lot of its material of crystal technology from the original Superman film -- there are many allusions to it throughout the novel. Recommended for the Superman fan.
Several years ago when I first tried to read this I got bored with its slow pace in the beginning and stopped reading it, several days ago I found this book on my bookshelf collecting dust.
I decided to give this book another chance and finish reading this book.
It's not perfect, but what book is? I found the beginning dragged abit. A few pet peeves was the author continuously commenting how brilliant Jor-El was but he kept making questionable decisions, but I guess he was only human - or well - Kryptonian! (pardon the pun!!)
I was expecting more from Zod - my favourite portrayal of Zod will always be Callum Blue from Smallville - as you could at least sympathize/empathize with his decisions/actions overall but disagree with, but here it was just for dominance and power.
Ugh - I wanted to smack the Kryptonian council half the time for being so dim witted for a supposedly superior race in the universe!! With all their advanced technology, physiology and knowledge ultimately failed them as people even though I knew that their demise was inevitable.
I loved Lara's portrayal here! and hints to other notable memorable characters that Kal-El/Clark Kent will later interact with- strangely quite liked Zor-El in here too!! I realized I was half expecting an appearance from Zor-El/Alura's daughter Kara-El and was disappointed that the author didn't include Kal-El's older cousin in his adaption....shame really....
Nice to see Jor-El and Zor-El's parents too, never really hear much about them either.
All in all, its ok read if you wanna get your hands on anything DC related! Happy reading!!
I didn't want to put this book down and it was with great reluctance when I had too!! If you ever wanted to know more about Kal-El's birthplace then this is the book for you. How did Jor-El meet Lara? Who created the Phantom Zone? The deviousness of Zod and how Nam-Ek and Aethyr became his companions. The total stupidity of the Kryptonian council and why they are to blame for the destruction of Krypton. The story of Kandor and why Brainic did what he did. Jor-El taking back Kryptonopolis from Zod. The punishment of Zod, Aethyr, and Nam-Ek. Krypton's destruction and Jor-El's and Lara's sacrifce to save Kal-El. This is the best book I have read in a long time. So if you are a Superman fan I think you will like this book! I know I did!!
Finally, after three years I was able to read this book over the course of a short road trip. It's an enjoyable read, but this book fell just short of being epic. We know the planet blows up, right? Good, not too many spoilers follow...
I'll list my gripes first:
Jor-El: He is supposed to be the most brilliant man on all of Krypton but this is sacrificed at the altar of "science must come first" at any cost and also at the altar of common sense. He could tell you how much water a glass can hold, but then put in the ice cubes after filling it to the brim. He never had his "epic" moment where he was confident and made things right. Sure, he wore the "S" but it just never happened.
Zod: he starts off shrewd and manipulative but then becomes this huge megalomaniac in the course of a few pages. Never have I seen a character start with depth and then become shallow.
The Council: The destruction of Krypton was not enough punishment for the bumbling arrogance of the original council and the successor after Zod. Many times, I wanted the protagonists just to go all Zod on them.
The Kryptons: They just up and follow anything that breathes? Yeah, they deserved the BOOM.
Lara: A feisty artist, historian, and mother. Not what I expected, but she was super.
Zor-El: This guy was down to Earth...er, Krypton and seems to be the only smart one who had common sense. He loved his wife, his citizens, and his brother. He was willing to do what it took to protect them without compromising his morals. Truly worthy of the "S". I think the book should have been about him.
Overall, I liked some of the touches to previous works: Braniac, J'onn J'onzz, "kneel before Zod", "truth and justice", the fortress of solitude, the crystals, and some others. It was not heavy, but they came at good times in the narrative.
This book really could have been a larger work and many of the characters could have been fleshed out. It seemed like the timeline of events happened awful fast. Also, the idea that Krypton faced 3-4 global planetary threats in nine months seemed to be a bit much.
I would only recommend this book to just below hardcore Superman fans. It offers nothing new, but it came close to being something epic and great. It's just lost potential.
GoodReads/Amazon management is censoring reviews from the sight of their "community". Criticism of the acquisition of GoodReads by Amazon results in the summary disappearance of the review from the book listing, without informing the reviewer. The complete version of this review has therefore been moved to the following sites:
If you, like me, object to what Amazon has done to the world of books, book lovers, and book shops, you can find many alternatives to GoodReads (for reviews) and to Amazon (for shopping) at the "Escaping Amazon" community [https://plus.google.com/communities/1...]. Our free public resource listing and describing alternatives is at [https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/c... . There are better sites, both for reading and for shopping.
Please be aware that the reviews you read here on GoodReads (now wholly owned by Amazon) are not an unbiased representation of the opinions of site members. Reviews which threaten Amazon's bottom line are censored. Reviewers aren't even informed that their sites have been quietly exiled to a literary ghetto. We, as readers, deserve better than GoodReads/Amazon.
Readers and their love of books are not commodities to be bought and sold - unless we allow it.
Possibly the most disappointing book I have read this year (2007). It disappoints on so many levels and in so many ways. For starters, with over sixty books to his credit, I was expecting something better; granted with half of those books based on the work of others (George Lucas, Frank Herbert, A, E, Vogt, and others) so perhaps it is not unexpected that this book disappoints. Much like today’s comicbook writers, either because of a lack of their own creativity or because of corporate demands, this novel incorporates everything that has gone on before it; an ill mixing the 50s and 60s expansions of the Superman back story with the Donner’s movie version. The result is a novels that contains all the names of people, places, and events but without really adding anything new, fresh or interesting. The love that Jor-el and Lara felt for each other is not felt. Zod is a cardboard villain. The most interesting original thing is the foreshadowing of the existence of kryptonite as a “new” form of green crystalline lava. This story could easily have been set in almost any other universe. I guess this disappointed me so much because Tom De Haven’s Its Superman! was so good
So I just finished The Last Days of Krypton for the first time. I put it off reading it because I've never really been a big Superman fan, more of a Captain America and Batman fan. But now I wish I hadn't, this book was truly awesome. Very rich in detail without slowing the story. All the characters were wonderful and even right up till the end I was hoping that Jor-El would find a way to save Krypton even though I knew that was not going to happen-couldn't happen. I'd actually LOVE to see a book that goes back to the time of Jax-Ur and tells the story of his rise to power along with the leaders of the Seven Armies. As well as the creation of the nova javelins and destruction of Koron. That would be epic!
The overall story was interesting and kept my anticipation for wanting to turn the next page, but after about a fourth of the way in it started reading more like a corny B movie. I read this after reading a Star Trek book called Imzadi which was very badly written, so when I began this book, it seemed it would be much better. It became mediocre and turned out to be only fair, though. I think I am going to read something from Edgar Rice Burroughs and see how well he does science fiction.
Ugh...never has my incurable need to finish a book once started been tested like this. It was absolute torture to read this monstrosity and I have longed for the day when I could safely put this down, knowing that I would never have to read another word again. Without any exaggeration, I can say that this is the undisputed champion of crappy novels. Of all the books I've ever read, nothing comes close to this putrescent turd. Not only was the diction puerile and stupid, the plotting ludicrous, and the characters laughable, but the book was so dreadfully boring.
This thing reminded me of the first creative writing assignment ever handed to me, assigned to my 11 year old, 6th grade self. It was a story not unlike this one: spaceships, aliens, heroes, inescapable catastrophes. I envisioned a work of genius, but when my 6th grade teacher read it back to me aloud...I was incredulous. The piece just didn't come out as I'd thought it up. I remember her offering me basic, ubiquitously understood tips to improve my writing: you know...things like "show, don't tell", "avoid abstract, generic adjectives", "use verbs in place of adjectives if possible", "be concrete and avoid abstraction", "give some complexity to your characters", "work on your dialog...make it sound authentic", etc., etc., etc.
This book needed my sixth grade teacher to edit it.
The only thing that could save this book in my mind is if the entire thing was a joke by either Harper Collins or Kevin Anderson, demonstrating the absurdity of what one can push through publication and convince comic book nerds to read. If they're sitting back, watching us, saying, "ha! Look at those guys! They paid good money for this thing and some are actually leaving good reviews...suckers!", then good on them. Well done guys. Well done.
.5 stars Actually .25 stars Actually .00000 approaching zero Don't ever read this book
I don't want to waste too much time talking about how terrible this book was. I read it because it was recommended to me by someone of whom I've recommended about a dozen books, otherwise I would have put it down about 1/3 of the way through.
Most of their characterizations were established by the book telling us that was the way they were. The book kept insisting that Jor-El was a genius who was well established in his community, but then he kept making idiotic decisions that didn't make any sense and he was never trusted by the council governing Krypton's society.
The book couldn't decide what plot device was going to ensure the destruction of the planet. Is it going to be a sun going supernova? Earthquakes? Or maybe an asteroid that's headed straight for us! Surprise, it's actually none of these, because another method of destruction is introduced right at the end of the book.
None of the character's motives made sense. Everything they did was to bumble through the plot without any sort of reasoning. All the characters were as flat as the Phantom Zone. The romance between Jor-El and Lara was laughable. Zod was a weakling who never would have accomplished a single thing if it weren't for the deus-ex-machina in the form of an alien kidnapping the capital city. Fuck you, that's not how storytelling works.
I'm sorry, Kevin Anderson. I enjoyed meeting you at Denver Comic Con this year and sitting in on your panel where you talked about how you always wanted to be an author and how much you enjoy it, but I'm not feeling it. This book sucked.
I haven't actually read any of the Superman comics, so I have no beef with this book's details and it seems to mesh well with what I remember from all the films and tv series. So, it had some interesting information and served as a pretty good summary of the backgrounds of Zod, Jor-El, etc. Having said that, though, I agree that this book seems to have been written for the average 8th grader. (Unfortunately, more of what I have come to expect from Kevin Anderson novels.) Extremely light character development, plot lines that jump and skip from one major event and crisis to another, very little description of anything other than the barest gloss-over to get it out there. Overall, very little depth to any of it. I read it in about 5 hours over the course of two days. Basically, felt like a comic book without the illustrations and without the BIF BAM WHAP SPLAT. Pretty disappointing - this was a rich storyline that could have been written well over several books, instead it felt like a summary of "the book that could have been."
Ryan: I haven't read science fiction in years, but this book caught my eye in the library. It's about Superman's home planet, in case you ever wanted to know where he came from. I did, and I had such high hopes, but this book was a thorough letdown. The dialogue was unrealistic, the characters were shallow, the storyline was weak and unbelievable. It seemed to have been written for 8th graders. If you're a Superman fan, I recommend you simply leave his homeplanet's fate to your own imagination.
Reimaginando a mitologia em torno de Krypton como um épico de ficção-científica sobre os horrores do totalitarismo, junto com um ritmo vertiginoso e personagens memoráveis, Kevin J. Anderson cria aqui uma trágica, porém impactante história sobre a força da moral e do amor em tempos sombrios. Explorando a dualidade entre o ético Jor-El e o ambicioso Dru-Zod, o maior acerto do autor aqui é dar humanidade para as atitudes altruístas e maquiavélicas dos dois, criando um contraponto que torna a tragédia anunciada desde o nascimento da cultura pop ainda mais trágica. Bem bom.
Em termos de lore para o Superman, este livro é uma das minhas fontes favoritas. Eu adorei como o Zod foi executado aqui. Todos os personagens foram bem feitos em minha opinião, mas o destaque do livro para mim foi ele. Na verdade eu até "torci" para ele em alguns momentos.
The Last Days Of Krypton is gripping fictional history that feels real
One of the most basic elements of Superman’s origin is that his home planet Krypton is destroyed, so his birth parents have to rocket him away to save him.
But all the finer details around the how and why Krypton perishes have varied quite abit over the decades and in the various media.
Kevin J. Anderson gets the unenviable task of creating a story that brings up all the ways this happens into one coherent whole, and he does a masterful job of this in The Last Days Of Krypton novel. Now, this book came out in 2007, so it obviously does not include the deaths of Krypton from more recent comics and movies and television and cartoons etc.
He smartly begins the tale with Jor-El, Superman’s father and a brilliant scientist, and Lara-El, Superman’s mother and an upcoming artist, really meeting for the first time. And yes, this aspect of the Superman tale has also been told a million different ways, but thankfully Anderson does not have the job to meld these together as well.
We then move forward with all the typical beats we know and love about the folklore, Jor-El and Lara-El courtship, the rise of the fanatical General Zod, the bumbling corruption of the Krypton ruling council, the devastating effects of Brainiac taking the city of Kandor, the lead up to the salvation of Argo City, and the why and how Superman is the only survivor of the doomed planet Krypton.
Well, until Supergirl and Argo City and Kandor and the Phantom Zone villains show up, but that is much later on.
Anderson also does an admirable job trying to combine the bits and pieces of all the different versions of Krypton as well, which is a thankless job because mushing this history together is way more messier and complicated. The comics tried a similar thing in 2008 with the massive New Krypton storyline, with better results maybe because it was comics, which has the visual advantage.
As the story thunders forward, we see Jor-El and his league of heroes continually save their planet from all sorts of threats, all while navigating the increasing power of the despotic General Zod. This is where Anderson mentions pretty much all the different ways that Krypton met its fate, and all sorts of ways it is spared. Until it isn’t.
One of the great things Anderson does here is show the political side of Krypton, which we all knew was screwed up since they ignored their greatest scientist Jor-El, and does a deep dive into how mucked up this all is. When we then see Zod’s rise, and his political manoeuvring, and how the repercussions from that leads to more political insanity, shows how corrupt stupidity and short-sightedness are universal. The parallels displayed throughout these storylines are so relevant after 911 and eerily prescient of 2020 and the virus.
The Last Days Of Krypton barrels forward to its conclusion with urgency and energy and heartstopping intensity. The end of the planet is dramatic and terrifying. But with it we get something else.
Salvation as our hero journeys to his new home. Earth.
Shadowhawk reviews the audiobook edition of Kevin J. Anderson’s novel about the fall of Superman’s world and its final moments.
“Emotionally super-charged, this is a story that is not to be missed.” ~The Founding Fields
Up until I read Matt Forbeck’s Brave New World trilogy and Adam Christopher’s Seven Wonders last year I don’t think I’ve ever read a superhero novel. Or a comics tie-in for that matter. My memory is rather hazy on that point. As things stand at the moment however, I’m rather keen on dipping into the sub-genre and exploring more of it. Larry Tye’s Superman: The High-flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero is what has really galvanised my interest and it’s why I bought the audiobook for Kevin J. Anderson’s The Last Days of Krypton. My fascination with Krypton’s last moments arose when I saw the first couple of episodes for the old Superman: The Animated Series cartoon. There’s something deeply inherent in those last tragic moments that really speaks to me, and when I picked up the audiobook, I wondered if Anderson’s take would do something similar. And it did.
There are several characters in The Last Days of Krypton: there is Jor-El and his brother Zor-El, Commissioner Zod, Jor-El’s wife Laura Lor-Van, and many others who pop up with regularity every now and then. Theirs is a story that takes place over several months, as Krypton undergoes great upheavals in its social and cultural structures, upheavals that rock it to its core. Whether it is apocalyptic doom from the sun (Rao) going supernova, or tectonic instabilities, or alien raids, or the grim stupidity of its leaders, Krypton is doomed and the story that Anderson writes is full of emotion and tragedy, one after another. I highly enjoyed the story, but I couldn’t help thinking that the universe had picked Krypton to be its punching bag. The secluded planet goes through one staggering change after another.
The high point of the story is not the science, or the grandeur of the doomed planet, or Kryptonian culture, or the rise of General Zod or anything else. It is a simple concept: the inter-personal relationships between all the characters. The relationships are what ultimately drive the entire story, because a lot rests upon how Jor-El, Zor-El and Laura are manipulated by Zod, how all of Krypton itself is manipulated by him. If Anderson hadn’t given each character a distinctive voice and had portrayed them realistically, each with their own motivations and beliefs and attitudes that differed from each other. Whether it is Jor-El’s stubbornness and optimism and naiveté, or Laura’s drive to find the truth in all things and compile a true history of events, or Zor-El’s unflinching dedication to the people of Argo City, or even their collective desire to safeguard all of Krypton, these are all things (concepts even) that I could get behind and support fully.
It goes without saying that these are the characters I enjoyed.
This was an "okay" book; it was mildly entertaining. I would say somewhere between 2.3 and 2.5 stars. After it was over, it was a "meh" and I moved on to my next book. It was slow reading; it felt longer than it was. It almost felt like it could have been broken down into two books, but that would definitely have been a minimum of one book too many. The character development was all right; as the readers obviously know what was going to happen [in the end] it was pretty anticlimactic.
I suppose the author did a decent job. It was kind of like trying to watch the prequel Star Wars movies about Anakin's fall from grace. There was no way any portrayal could have pleased everybody, and most people would no doubt be disappointed with the telling now matter how it was portrayed. The author had a tough job to sell in telling the story of Krypton before its destruction and Kal-El's escape. I do give him kudos for tackling it and attempting it. I am sure in my case it stems from reading numerous stories about Krypton's past in the comics as well as watching the Christopher Reeve Superman movies that interfered with my enjoyment of this novelization about what happened in the year or two before Krypton was destroyed. The author definitely had a difficult task ahead of him.
The "best line" in the book for me was on page 291 when Zod said, "Solar disturbances, tectonic upheaval, massive waves, and a threatening comet?" I kept waiting for the plague of Kryptonian locusts or it raining the Kryptonian version of cats and dogs and frogs to be mentioned. The continual disasters, one after the other, got to be somewhat ludicrous [not saying it could not happen; it just made me start laughing at "what happened next!" as the next disaster struck].
I felt the character development was probably the weakest part of the book. Zod was just . . . underwhelming as a villain. Jor-El and Zor-El left a bit to be desired as genius-scientists who happened to be brothers. The Kryptonian government in the form of the respective "Councils" was inept beyond belief; they merely seemed to be caricatures to "highlight" how smart and benevolent and wise Jor-El was and how incompetent the rulers of Krypton were, especially in light of the numerous disasters that were overtaking the planet.
There were some [mildly] interesting parts in the narrative .
It was an okay read. I did enjoy the different "cameos" and "shout-outs" to Superman's eighty-some years of comic history and backstory. Some of them I recognized, and some I no doubt missed . I am glad that I read it, but it was still a bit of a disappointment for me. I do not know if I will ever read it again, but it was [barely] worth the read the one time. Perhaps if I read it again, I will have changed my mind and enjoy it more.
This book takes place about 2 years before the birth of Superman, a.k.a. Kal-el. We follow Jor-el and Lara (Kal-el's parents); Zor-el (brother to Jor-el); and General Zod, Aethyr and Nam-Ek (the main bad guys). It tells a story about people trying to survives through great crisis. I had not really read many comicbook-based novel, so this was new to me.
The flow of the book moves smoothly through each of the chapters, which are short but have a lot of action throughout. The characters are entertaining, the good guys likable and the bad unlikable in a likable sort of way. It was entertaining to see characters from movies and comic book react with each other, like an appearance of Brainac I wasn't expecting. I have not read many Superman comics, but in the ones I have read more recently, Superman tends to have a negative, "I am superior to all" ... I don't know, I actually prefer Batman. That said, I liked this book because it was not about Superman, but his family and where he came from, and thus where he's coming from.
I thought it was a little redundant to keep having all these catastrophes happen all at once, but I guess the action had to come from somewhere. There are many series I see clearly--like Jor-el creating the Phantom Zone and Lara saving him from it, which helped spark their romance.
I enjoyed this book a lot and will have my eyes out for more comicbook-based novels.
Anyone who is even remotely interested in comic books knows the story of Superman, the sole survivor of the doomed planet Krypton, sent to Earth in the planet's final moments to seek a new beginning under our strengthening yellow sun. However, few know the true story of Krypton itself. Why was the planet destroyed? When and how? Who were Kal-El's parents, and what were they like? And just who is Zod? All these questions and more are answered in Kevin J. Anderson's The Last Days of Krypton . In this book we are introduced to Jor-El, Lara, Commissioner Zod and the Kryptonian Council and the rest of the planetary society and culture itself. Krypton stagnates under the isolationist rule of the Council. While Jor-El submits invention after brilliant invention, his nemesis Zod plots the overthrow of all. Whatever era of Superman you were a part of, there is something in this book for you. Action, Romance, Political Intrigue, all leading up to Krypton's final moments. If you are a fan of Superman, comic books, or are a newcomer to the Man Of Steel's epic saga, give this book a read or listen.
I love reading stories about superheroes. And it's fun to delve into the background of Superman. What were his parents like? What transpired on Krypton before he was born?
And I enjoyed this story. One thing that I noticed was that I didn't really get into the story and care for the characters as much as I do in other books. I don't know if that has to do with Anderson's writing, or because I brought so much to the book, and kept imagining the opening scenes of the 1978 Superman film and super-imposing those images over the book. I just didn't get absorbed into the characters like I usually enjoy, and kept a bit of objective distance. Almost like I was, instead of reading a story as it transpired, I was reading a bit of history, knowing what Kal-El is like all grown up, and reading about some of the players in his life before he was born. But I can't necessarily fault Anderson for that.
I'd recommend it if you're a Superman fan and would enjoy reading a bit about the past of Krypton and what happens before it explodes. (Oh, no! Did I forget to put a spoiler warning?)
I really enjoyed this novel a lot more than I thought I would. I only picked it up, because this is the only book by Kevin J. Anderson that my local library has, outside of all of the Dune novels co-written with Brian Herbert. The concept and outline of this novel are put together quite well. There aren't any spots in this book that move at a slow pace. This was so well written that I found it hard to put it down once I started! The characters were very well developed and when the end is coming, which almost everyone knows what happens to Krypton, not to mention from the title alone, you almost don't want it to happen. It was also interesting to learn where the logo and colors of Superman came from. I would suggest/recommend this novel to anyone and everyone from the Superman fan to the science fiction fan as this covers both of those areas.
This was an interesting read. I liked finding out a little more about Krypton and Kal-El's parents and family. I think Anderson did a good job creating Kryptonian society, and tying in several things from the greater Superman universe (Argos City, General Zod and friends, Brainiac, and so on).
The only frustration I had with the book was that Anderson seemed to be writing to a midgrade or YA market with the tone of his writing. It was very disconcerting for a book not obviously marketed to those audiences. I suspect it mayy be due to Anderson having written a fair number of YA and MG books.
All-in-all, though, the book was enjoyable. If you're interested in some backstory for Superman, this is a good read.
Kevin J. Anderson is experienced at taking pre-existing charcters or settings (Dune, Star Wars) and producing novels that expand said universes. Here it is somewhat hit and miss since he's working with one of the most enduring mythos of modern fiction - Superman and his origin. What he added to the story, I have no problems with, it's what he changed that bothers me and many others. Mainly that he turned Jor-El (Superman's father) into an absent minded professor type who is hopelessly naive instead of the strong leader we know from the comics. A good tale if taken by itself but a failure if one takes into account the entire Superman mythos.
The “Last Days of Krypton” was an awesome telling of the events leading up to baby Superman’s journey to earth. I was never a diehard comic book person and only read a few here or there, so up until I read this book, I really only had glimpses of what happened to Superman’s home planet thru little bits of comic books, or movies, and even TV shows. This really gave me a whole complete picture.
The characters were portrayed loyal to what I’ve read and seen in the DC universe, identifying with them was easy. I hope someone picks this story up for a movie, because if it is done right, it would be a great addition to all the other superman movies and shows out there.